Genealogy research leads to discovery of cousins thought to have died in the Holocaust #holocaust

Michael Moritz

You may find interesting my recent blog post about how genealogical research led to the discovery of cousins who we thought died in the Holocaust. After my grandmother died, I was able to find through genealogical research what she never knew: she had two first cousins who, completely unbeknownst to her, survived the war and lived out their lives in Europe.  The post contains many searching strategies especially for Austrian (Vienna) and general Holocaust genealogy research.

Michael Moritz (info@...)
New York


SO fascinating!

I hope that you will post here again when you've added the rest of the story.
Fredel Fruhman
Brooklyn, New York, USA

Annette Weiss

I took a DNA test several years ago with MY Heritage and found a 2C1R ... and she was the great granddaugther of my grandmother.  I never knew about my grandmother's much younger sister, who was left in Poland to care for her father, while her older siblings (my grandmother and her older brother) immigrated to NYC.  She was murdered in a synagogue, but not before she married and had several children, only one of whom survived.  I finally met this girl in the fall of 2018 and we exchanged info about our families, and each discovered many cousins we never knew about ... a wonderful find!

Annette Weiss

JoAnne Goldberg

My mother's maternal grandfather apparently didn't have much to do with
his birth family -- he moved to the Rhineland from the Hesse region--
but via DNA, I found that his sister had married and had children, so my
mother had two unknown second cousins in Israel. I was way more excited
about this than she was!

It's worth noting that the match (granddaughter of a second cousin) was
way down on my FTDNA list -- she's my third cousin 1r -- and I wouldn't
have spotted her if her mother hadn't written me. When I saw segments of
50cM and 25cM, I knew there must be a close relationship.
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535



Michael, very interesting!  I am wondering about the Moritz side of yout family.  My 2nd great grandmother Margaretha Schiff (born Metzger) had a sister, Regine, who married Hermann Moritz in or around the Mainz area.  I have a DNA match in Ancestry with a predicted relationship of 4th cousin 1X removed with the same name as yours.  Is it the same family?

Diane Jacobs

Susan J. Gordon

When I began digging into my family history about 20 years ago, all I was seeking was what happened to my maternal grandfather, who died (I believed) in New York City some time in the 1960's. By that time, (I also believed) everyone in the family had stopped talking to him. Not expecting much, and not even sure if he had died in New York City, I sent $15 to the NYC Board of Health and requested his death certificate. It arrived with pertinent information, including the location (New York!), the date of his death, and the name of a woman named Eva, listed as the "informant." Who was she? No one in my family knew. After months of searching, I tracked down Eva, a Hungarian-born second cousin who had visited New York in the '60's and cared for her uncle (my grandfather) until his death. Subsequently, I found out that afterwards, she had made aliyah to Israel. So on a Sunday morning in August, 1999, I picked up the phone to call her and thanked her for caring for my grandfather until his death. Of course she was stunned, but very happy to hear from me. "There is justice in heaven, because you remember him," she said. But most startling was when she said - "Do you know you are calling me on his Yarhtzeit? It is the anniversary of his death?" (on the Hebrew calendar.) 
Four months later, I was on a plane to Tel Aviv, where I visited Eva again and again, and listened to her stories....

Susan J. Gordon

PS: I neglected to mention that I learned about my family's losses in the Holocaust from Eva. Until then, I accepted the story that "we didn't lose family in the Holocaust because we all were safely here in America by the 1930's." I think my relatives really believed it, until Eva told us what had happened. In Budapest, she bravely forged documents, hid many Jews, and even stole ID papers from a Nazi officer's desk.... I wrote about this in BECAUSE OF EVA: A Jewish Genealogical Journey.



Some 3 years ago, while browsing old family pictures, I found a picture of a young boy with his name written on the back - Herszel SZTARKMAN. I asked my grandmother who he was, but she didn't know. His surname - SZTARKMAN - was not in my family tree and she never heard of it in our family.

Some weeks later I was searching my great-grandmother`s surname in the Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony and I found some records with her surname and... SZTARKMAN. The pages were submited by a man called Herszel SZTARKMAN in 1990 in memory of his parents and siblings who perished in the Holocaust. His mother's name and surname were those of a sister of my great-grandmother - Rukhlia TKACZ - and his father's name was named Pinkus. They were from Rowne, Volhynia. My great-grandmother was from Vladimir Volynski, not far from there.

I asked for help in ViewMate (the page of testimony was in Russian). In resume: the man who submited the pages lived in Jalal Abad, Kyrgysztan. Again, I asked for help in this forum and someone googled for his name using the cyrillic alphabet. One of the results was an article from an online newspaper from Kyrgysztan about a blood hospital in Jalal Abad whose 1st director in the 1970's was... Gerschel Pinkusevitch SZTARKMAN. Bingo!

At the age of 86 my grandmother discovered she had a cousin she never knew about.

Flavio Baran